Black women murdered by men at a rate more than two and a half times higher than white women, study finds

October 3, 2013

Black women are most often killed by a gun and almost always by someone they know


refuge460Washington, DC —
Black women face a disproportionate
share of fatal domestic
violence in America,
according to the new Violence
Policy Center (VPC)
report “When Men Murder
Women: An Analysis of 2011
Homicide Data.” In 2011,
492 black females were murdered
by males at a rate of
2.61 per 100,000, compared
to a rate of 0.99 per 100,000
for white females.
The annual report is released
to coincide with Domestic
Violence Awareness
Month in October. The study
covers homicides involving
one female murder victim
and one male offender, and
uses data from the Federal
Bureau of Investigation’s
unpublished Supplementary
Homicide Report. This year’s
report applies to 2011, the
most recent year for which
data is available.
Here are some of the report’s
findings related to
black females murdered by

• Where the relationship
could be determined, 94 percent
of black females killed
by males knew their killers.
Nearly 15 times as many
black females were murdered
by a male they knew than
were killed by male strangers.
• Of the black victims
who knew their offenders,
52 percent were wives, common-
law wives, ex-wives, or
girlfriends of the offenders.
Ninety-three percent of the
homicides were intra-racial.
• Firearms, especially
handguns, were the most
common weapons used by
males to murder black females.
When the murder
weapon could be identified,
51 percent of black female
victims were shot and killed
with guns. Within that group,
82 percent were killed with a
• In homicides where the
age of victims was reported,
12 percent of black female
victims were less than 18
years old (55 victims), and
five percent were 65 years of
age or older (22 victims).
• The vast majority of homicides
of black females
murdered by males were not
related to any other felony
crime. Most often, black females
were killed by males in
the course of an argument.
In cases where the circumstances
could be identified,
87 percent were not related
to the commission of any
other felony.
“Nine women each week
are shot to death by their
husband or intimate partner,”
said Shannon Watts,
founder of Moms Demand
Action for Gun Sense in
America. “That’s nearly 500
domestic gun violence deaths
each year — more than twice
the number of servicewomen
killed in military conflicts
since the Korean War. We
urgently need better policies
that protect women and their
families from this senseless
violence. No American, adult
or child, should live in a perpetual
state of fear. It’s inhumane.”
Nationwide, a total of
1,707 females were murdered
by males in single victim/
single offender incidents
in 2011, at a rate of 1.17 per
The study also ranks each
state based on the homicide
rate for females murdered by
males. In 2011, South Carolina
led the nation with a rate
of 2.54 per 100,000.